The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

4/30/2005

Guilty pleasure Saturday - Petula Clark - "I Know a Place"

I know a singer. Petula Clark was to British invasion rockers what Sonny & Cher was to hippies: a TV-friendly, sanitized bit of youth culture aimed at the adult market. Both also made great timeless pop music that, in its day, was enjoyable to multiple generations and can be enoyed today without feeling dated.

Petula Clark is one of my favorite female pop singers. I remember her as a cute, perky blonde who guested on any of a number of American TV variety shows in the 1960s, like Glen Campbell. Pet peaked with her run of Tony Hatch written and arranged pop songs, from 1964's "Downtown" to 1967's "Don't Sleep in the Subway."

Her follow-up to her international Number 1 hit and star turn, "Downtown," was the great "I Know a Place," which hit Number 3 in the U.S. in 1965. Yes, it can be dismissed as a clone of its predecessor, lyrically and melodically. The soft verse and big bomming chorus. The tale of getting away to somewhere for a hip, happening party. Yes, been there, done that. But, hey, no one ever looked at a Monet and said, "Water Lilies? Again? Claude, some variety, please?" Yes, she's working the same territory, but she works it so well.

There are a number of great Petula Clark collections out there, depending on how far beyond the mid 1960s/Tony Hatch material you want to delve. Just about all of the collection will have the Big U.S. hits. I listen to my Pet on the 2001 Complete Golden Hits Collection, which seems to be difficult to find currently. It is 25 tracks, and includes a precious little 1920s style German language number "Casanova" straight out of a Weimar Era Cabaret. The allmusic site recommends the easier-to-find, 21-track The Ultimate Petula Clark, which goes lighter on the show tune fare, and readily available on alldirect for $11.88, amazon for $13.99.

Guilty pleasure? Maybe. Song o' the day? Absolutely!
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